SB 334 & HB 469-Relating to Prejudgment Interest
On Tuesday, February 21st, SB 334, relating to Prejudgment Interest, by Senator Greg Steube (R-Sarasota), was heard by the Senate Committee on Judiciary and passed by a vote of 6 yeas to 2 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, spoke in opposition to this bill.
On Thursday, February 23rd, HB 469, relating to Prejudgment Interest, by Representative Shawn Harrison (R-Tampa), was heard by the House Civil Justice & Claims Subcommittee and passed by a vote of 11 yeas to 4 nays. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, spoke in opposition to this bill.
These bills seek to mandate that prejudgment interest be awarded to both economic and noneconomic damages recovered. For economic damages, interest would accrue from starting the date the plaintiff incurred economic losses. For noneconomic damages, interest would accrue starting from the date the defendant received notice of a claim from the plaintiff. Currently, prejudgment interest is awardable on economic losses at the discretion of the judge. Florida businesses are gravely concerned about the addition of prejudgment interest on noneconomic losses due to the subjective nature of these costs.
SB 334 will move on to its second committee hearing in the Senate Committee on Rules.
HB 469 will move on to its second committee hearing in the House Appropriations Committee.
AIF OPPOSES legislation that will increase the already daunting costs of litigation on Florida’s businesses.
Please see below statement from AIF’s President & CEO, Tom Feeney, concerning Prejudgment Interest:
AIF Statement Regarding Prejudgment Interest Legislation
Tallahassee, Fla. – The Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) today released the following statement on behalf of its President & CEO Tom Feeney regarding the opposition to Senate Bill 334, by Senator Greg Stuebe (R-Sarasota), relating to Prejudgment Interest. SB 334 was today heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee, its first committee of reference.
“Our court system in Florida is already overburdened. The last thing we need is to add another situation to the mix that would not only add time-consuming and burdensome measures, but also add another cost driver to Florida businesses.
“Because of the added financial pressures and court system constraints, AIF and its members oppose Prejudgment Interest legislation. SB 334 does nothing more than make attorneys richer, while making Florida employers suffer.
“As this bill moves through the process, with Senate Rules being the next committee stop, we encourage lawmakers to take a serious look at just how damaging this legislation would be to Florida businesses.”
Known as “The Voice of Florida Business” in the Sunshine State, AIF has represented the principles of prosperity and free enterprise before the three branches of state government since 1920. A voluntary association of diversified businesses, AIF was created to foster an economic climate in Florida conducive to the growth, development, and welfare of industry and business and the people of the state.
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HB 17-Relating to Local Regulation Preemption
On Wednesday, February 22nd, HB 17, relating to Local Regulation Preemption, sponsored by Representative Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay) was heard before the House Careers & Competition Subcommittee and was reported favorably by a vote of 9 yeas and 6 nays.. AIF’s Senior Vice President of State and Federal Affairs, Brewster Bevis, spoke in support of this bill.
This bill aims to preempt authority to the state and away from local governments when it comes to business regulations. Both big and small businesses must abide by the rules and regulations set in place by their local governments, regardless of if that rule or regulation differs from city to city, or county to county. This circumstance causes those who conduct business in multiple different cities or counties throughout the state to abide by a myriad of rules that are inconsistent and must be complied with in order to continue their business. AIF believes that preempting business regulation to the state will allow for a streamline system that businesses, (old and new, small and large) can easily follow when conducting business across the State of Florida.
HB 17 will now go to the House Commerce Committee for a hearing.
AIF SUPPORTS legislation that will streamline business regulation throughout the state.